Coral Coast's colourful carpet

Photo of Angie Tomlinson

As the wave of colour sweeps south, Coral Coast looks back on a wildflower season bursting with spectacular blooms.

Carpets of everlastings, wreath flowers massing on roadsides and rarely seen species marked one of the most spectacular wildflower seasons seen along the Coral Coast.

A magic balance between sun and rain resulted in vivid wildflowers throughout the region, starting during May in Exmouth and Shark Bay before spreading south towards the Mid-West in June.

For Australia’s Coral Coast marketing manager Suzanne Fisher the everlasting carpets will always be her favourite, but this year delivered a delightful twist.

“Carnarvon was seeing a mixture of white everlastings intertwining with purple Dampier pea in their stunning Pindan soil. For me, I loved all the colours growing in this rust-red soil,” she said.

Perpetual hotspot Coalseam Conservation Park again put on a spectacular show of bright and dense everlastings to create carpets of colour.

The distinctive wreath flower also delighted crowds with a prolific year.

“This year the wreath flowers exploded along roadsides, we haven’t seen so many in such a dense and long area, one after another dotted by the roadside. Many full grown and a super pink colour,” Ms Fisher said.

Oakabella Homestead manager Loretta Wright spent a day exploring the bush surrounding Pindar, 30km east of Mullewa, delighting in the wreath flowers.

“It was the most beautiful site at Pindar, for about a kilometre either side of the road were these beautiful wreath flowers popping straight up from the dirt,” Ms Wright said.

She said the heritage-listed 1850’s Oakabella homestead was experiencing its busiest seasons in her 21 years as manager, with local, interstate and international visitors experiencing the exceptional wildflower season.

Early rains sowed the seed for the spectacular wildflower season in the region. Ms Wright said whilst orchids were almost finished at Oakabella, visitors were still heading to nearby Shire of Chapman Valley to take in the flowers.

This year’s season was anything but typical. Ms Fisher said early rainfall at the start of the season, followed by a dry period in June, resulted in a different assortment of wildflowers.

The rare blue enamel flowered this year and everlastings popped up in vast numbers in atypical locations, including Carnarvon, and the Billabong Roadhouse at Shark Bay to accompany with the area’s tamala rose and Shark Bay daisy.

The orchids were also prolific with donkey, cowslip, spider and fairy orchids found in the Kalbarri National Park.

At Bullara Station, between Coral Bay and Exmouth, much-needed rainfall meant owners Edwina and Tim Shallcross witnessed winter shrubs and herbage that they hadn’t seen in years. Along with the wildflowers, an amazing season of a feathery kind was also had at Bullara.

“The countryside is looking spectacular but what we have noticed is the amount of birds. They have been so active this season, nesting away and the birdsong in the morning has been lovely,” Edwina said.

“At the bottom of the gulf we have had up to 70 brolgas dancing across the salt flats which is typically found further north.”  

The consensus on tourist numbers to the region was they were significantly up, in part attracted by the spectacular season.

Visitors were also able to enjoy new facilities this year, with redeveloped camping sites at Coalseam Conservation Park allowing people to camp amongst the flowers.

In Geraldton a newly installed Art Drive, open until the end of November, allowed visitors to observe local artist’s sculptures set among the wildflowers.